May 30, 2008

Less Busy is a Good Thing.

(Photo: Willow keeps me company while I work late) (Technically she slept in the chair beside my desk and utterly ignored me, but that counts as "company". Right?)

After being consumed for the last two week in getting ready for the conference and then being away for four days to actually do the conference, I was deep, deep, d-e-e-e-p in the weeds when this week started out. Happily I'm slowly digging my way out, thanks in part to the really slow telephones at the office today (honestly, the phone was so quiet today that I actually picked it up several times to make sure our T1 line wasn't out of service). All that time off from talking to pesky clients and vendors gave me a whole day to whip through the mountain of paperwork on my desk, and so I was a workin' producin' machine all day. By the time I left the office I could actually tell what color the top of my desk is. It's beige. Who knew?

And being out of the weeds is an especially good thing because my nephew Mildew, er Matthew is coming down next week to hang out with us and watch Morley do some engineering, and we really, really want to enjoy every single minute of the week we have with him. So being caught up is good.

And not looking like a bag lady is good too, so after I left work I headed straight to the nail salon for a much needed and long overdue tune-up on my hands and feet, and when I got home at 7:45, Morley had dinner waiting for me. All in all, today was a great day and even though I'm posting this at 12:37 AM (I'm going to bed right after this I swear) I feel like I'm getting on top of things.

Or at least I felt that way until I glanced over to the corner of our home office and saw this:

The mountain of boxes filled with stuff for the upcoming nuptials is growing by the minute, and my list of things to do between now and September 6 is huge.

Well, heck.

May 28, 2008

A message from Queen Elizabeth

In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary)

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. Using your dictionary, look up aluminium and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.

2. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour', 'favour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise'. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary').

3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as 'like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as US English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of -ize.

4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not ready to shoot grouse.

6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

7. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

8. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline), which is roughly $12/US gallon. Get used to it.

9. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with ketchup but with vinegar.

10. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager.

South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting Nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth--see what it did for them.

American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

11. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.

12. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body Armour like a bunch of nancies). Don't try Rugby-- the South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us.

13. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America . Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.

14. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.

15. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

16. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

God save the Queen.

May 27, 2008

A tradeshow and a crispy cruiser

Nothing says "long holiday weekend" more than doing a tradeshow. No? Maybe it's just me then.

Anyway, we got home last night from our four day conference at Jekyll Island and despite the fact that everybody else in the world got to goof off and relax while we chatted up clients in a booth, it was still a good time. All things considered. But I'm not bitter.

Anyway, h
ere's what our booth looked like:

And while we were wearing dress clothes and standing around in a convention center in south Georgia, our friends at the dock were wearing bathing suits and sipping cold ones while they watched a boat burn.

Our friend Steve emailed us photos so we could live the excitement vicariously, and here's what that looked like:

This boat was at the fuel dock filling its tanks when it caught fire and the dock workers did what they're supposed to do whenever a boat catches fire--they cut it loose and pushed it out into open water to let nature (or bad karma) run its course.

As you can tell from these photos, the fuel dock is right in the middle of the marina so a boat fire is a very big deal. Everybody who had a boat within 500 yards of the inferno was quaking in their flipflops, guaranteed. If we had been there Morley would have been screaming like a girl.

Or maybe I would have been the one screaming like a girl and Morley would have been figuring out how we could cruise around the fire and out of harms' way without scorching off our eyebrows or going down in flames ourselves in the process. That scenario is a possible option also.

Fortunately the only injury was a marina employee who gashed his legs during the frenzy to cut the boat loose so as bad as it was for the guy whose boat got toasted, it could have been a lot worse. A few weeks ago another cruiser caught fire while fueling at another marina and it exploded into smithereens, injuring the people on board.

Yup, it could have been a lot worse. I guess spending the holiday weekend in a tradeshow booth wasn't so bad after all.

And that's the news from Georgia. And now it is Monday morning--except it is Tuesday--so I'm off to work. More later.

May 20, 2008

Warning: my sister will not like this post

Before I begin this post, let me first save my sister from the trauma that is going to follow: Loretta, please avert your eyes. Seriously. You don't want to see this.

Okay, now that Loretta is off doing something else, let me start by saying that lately I've been waking up in the morning feeling all cramped and not very rested. I couldn't figure out what the problem was--there are no animals allowed on the bed except Muffin. But that couldn't be the problem because he only weighs four pounds and he sleeps at Morley's feet where he's out of the way and doesn't interfere with our snoozing. In fact, we don't even know he's there so it must be something else. I accused Morley of bed-hogging, a sin he has been known to commit in the past, but he swore innocence.

I solved the mystery the other night when I made the mistake of drinking coffee after dinner because I wanted to see the final episode of Survivor and was afraid I'd fall asleep before it came on (at 8 PM--how lame am I?).

I definitely stayed awake long enough to see the end of the show but the problem was I kept staying awake long after it was over. I was up really, really late--all that caffeine had me buzzing until midnight--but that accidental caffeine overdose solved the mystery of why I haven't been sleeping well.

Everyone else had long sacked out by midnight when I went upstairs to go to bed. And this is what I saw (Loretta do NOT go any further. Stop reading right now, I beg of you):

As it turns out, Shelby has figured out that Morley and I are both sound sleepers so when we start sawing logs she takes the opportunity to improve her sleeping accomodations. As in, the accomodations on MY side of the bed. Busted. Caught on film.

It's cuteness like this that gets Muffin exempted from the "no animals on the bed" policy, by the way.

Isn't this cute? The animals all curled up together with their little furry bums together? Cute?

And immediately after i made these photos of them looking so cute, I kicked every one of them out of bed and told them to never, ever, ever to come back again. Well, everyone except Morley. He gets to stay but only if he sticks to his side of the bed.

Loretta, I'm done. You can look now.

May 13, 2008

I heart Psychrometrics

Yesterday I sat in on a "lunch and learn" session at the office. The topic was psychrometrics and I went because I wanted to know more about psychrometrics, for example what the heck is it. Or maybe I went because I like hanging out with the big boys and eating gourmet box lunches while saying stuff like "it's been awhile since I had a course on psychrometrics" and eating cookies. That was during the "lunch" part.

Then it came time for the "learn" part . The main thing I learned is that I'm glad I'm not an engineer because it's hard and there's a lot of math. And what I learned about psychometrics is that it has something to do with wet bulbs and dry bulbs, and how many grains of something are in a cubic foot of something else, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah....

I hung around waiting for the part where we got to use colored markers but that never happened, so about halfway thru the class I made a discrete exit by saying I thought I had a speck of RH in my eye and needed to wash it out, or maybe what I said was that my eyeballs were melting out of my sockets. Whatever. And I took an extra cookie with me on the way out.

And then I ran to my desk and added a entire column of numbers using Excel to restore my mathematical self confidence and then I drew something with colored markers.

I did, however, find my attention was riveted on the professor during the whole lecture. In fact, I took him home and smooched on him pretty good after school let out.

May 8, 2008

Nightmare, Video Edition

Oh great. Now that I've seen this video I won't be able to sleep without having nightmares about falling through concrete sidewalks. If you have the slightest hint of acrophobia (fear of heights) don't even think about watching it. Seriously.

Now that you watched it anyway I'll tell you it's El Camino del Reyin near Malanga, Spain and is a pathway built in 1905 to help workers transport supplies from one side of the gorge to the other. Because apparently there was something important that needed to get from one side of the gorge to other (I can't imagine what that might have been but my first thought would be tranquilizers) (or maybe more concrete).

For obvious reasons--not the least of which is people getting killed in unplanned 700 foot shortcuts to the bottom--the Spanish government closed it to the public, but lunatics like this guy still go there. Because they are maniacs with death wishes, that's why.

And now if you will excuse me I need to go check my pants and then I think I'll give my front yard a big kiss. Love you long time, solid ground.

May 5, 2008

A Day Off and Some Gardening

We had our third day off since March 15th yesterday and we spent it out in the garden getting things deweeded and pruned, and generally getting the yard looking less like a HUD foreclosure. We're usually well underway with our gardening by this time of year, but with working such crazy hours we just haven't had a chance to get going.

But finally we had a day off, and it was sunny and warm, and we'd picked up some plants last weekend on our Sunday afternoon off, so yesterday was our day. And we headed to the garden to work.

Well, not all of us worked...Muffin spent the afternoon fishing, fortunately without any luck.

But we created this very impressive pile of weeds:

After I pulled a million weeds, I planted some new flowers, pruned and trimmed some scraggly bushes, and moved a few plants from one place to another. Meanwhile Morley got the vegetable garden going by planting five tomatoes plants and erecting the support poles so we'll be ready to plant green beans:

And he used a tape measure to make sure everything was planted in precisely, exactly the right place:

People, this is what it's like living with an engineer. They can't help it, really they can't.

Anyway, we worked from daylight to dark, or to 7:50 PM to be precise, when we had done as much as we could do considering both of us were filthy and tired and ready for dinner and bed, not to mention I had lost the ability to raise my arms over my head.

But look how great my flower bed is looking. Is that the most gorgeous crop of Foxglove you ever saw? Yes? I thought so, too.

And the engineer doesn't look too shabby either if I say so myself.

May 2, 2008

Storage Shed Needed, Stat!

The foyer at the house is beginning to look like a mini-warehouse as the stuff we've ordered for the wedding is beginning to stack up. One of those boxes contains a few hundred dried starfish (act surprised when you see them at the reception) which Muffin and Willow think are intended for them. You'll note that the box containing dried sea creatures--aka "Cat Cocaine"--is strategically placed at the very bottom of the stack to foil their unrelenting attempts to crack into it.

All those cardboard boxes definitely do not add to the overall ambiance of my decor, but on the bright side just one more delivery and we'll have all the stuff we need to mail you a wedding invitation.

And on the topic of weddings, I have (yet another) website set up to disseminate up to the minute wedding information. There isn't much there yet, but check it out: Susan & Morley's Wedding Central Website. I'll be adding more details real soon. Really, I will.

By the way, the family's website ( is currently blank. The webserver has some corrupted files that have to be uncorrupted and it is such a convoluted problem that they attempted to fix it by wiping the slate clean (which still didn't work) and now it has been escalated to a higher level of geekdom. They tell me they will have it figured out and fixed "soon" which previous experience with this particular hosting company tells me will be "sooner or later". Bear with me while the Geeks put their little pointed heads together to figure out our server issues, after which we'll be back in business.

May 1, 2008

Bye, bye carbs. I'll miss you.

Today is the day when I finally dig in and do something about the flab that has settled into a very specific region of my body extending from roughly just below my cheekbones to right above my knees. For the last three summers I've vowed to lose weight so I will look more like a babe and less like Babe in my bathing suit, but so far vowing alone hasn't gotten me much in the way of actual weight loss. Apparently it is necessary to actually change your diet in order to get any thinner.

Having accepted this bitter truth, I am changing my former fattening (yet oh so tasty) ways, and have started a NO CARB diet beginning this morning. I chose this particular route to babedom on the advice of a weight loss expert who just happens to be the clerk at the QT gas station where I stop to refuel my Mega SUV on a depressingly regular basis. This tiny, svelt little slip of a girl tells me she lost 18 pounds in six weeks on the Adkins diet.

Here's how I look at it: No carbs=faster weight loss=return to eating tasty carbs quicker. That's good enough for me.

And so, to the noble end of looking good in my wedding dress just four months hence, I have embraced a diet of meat, meat, and more meat along with a daily dose of 4 ounces of cheese and all the mayo I can handle. And for a little variety and some crunch I have pork rinds.

Pork rinds will take a while to embrace but I'm gagging, er, working on it but let's just be clear that giving up all the tasty foods in the world for a few weeks will be worth it if it turns me from this:

...into THIS:

Well, minus the penis and muscular chest, but you know what I mean.

Twenty--no, thirty--years from now as I sit in the nursing home eating tapioca (not butterscotch! never butterscotch!!!) pudding, I don't want to look at my photos and wonder why I didn't drop a few before the big day. So if eating mayo and pork rinds will make me look good in the wedding photos, then bring 'em on.

Praise Dr. Adkins and pass the pigskin please.